Thursday, September 15, 2011

Anna Dressed in Blood- Character Building with Kendare Blake

Kendare Blake
Author of Anna Dressed in Blood

Talks about Character Building
Today on the blog I have a special guest, author Kendare Blake of Anna Dressed in Blood.

She is sharing with us some of her secrets about Character Building and at the end is the information you'll need to follow the tour and gather clues.

Thanks for joining us today Kendare and answering my questions.  Thanks for having me here!
1) When you create your characters, how do you decide their likes and dislikes, their feelings, their friends, their appearance, demeanor, how they think?  And then how do you stick those characteristics?

Main characters tend to grow organically as the story goes along. I think it’s a good idea to get to know your characters as much as possible before you start writing them. It might sound weird, but daydreaming scenarios does wonders. What would they do in this or that situation? What would they say? Play it out, movies in your head.

2) Do the characters come to you or do you pick them up from stories you've heard are they part of people you know, how do they start?

Story and character seem to come all at once. It’s like seeing someone on the street, thinking they look interesting, and following them around for awhile. Except not that because that’s stalking.  Anna Dressed in Blood showed up as a name. But as soon as I heard the name, the girl came through pretty quickly.

3) How do you tell a character's back story?  Do you tell it all at the beginning, flashback, or a little at a time and how do you make whatever you do work?

I’m not a huge fan of exposition dumps. And using dialogue that’s unrealistic and purely for reader info usually doesn’t work either. Flashbacks work nicely. Prologues can work nicely. I like a little bit at a time. But really, it’s whatever is best suited for the story. Every time is different.

4) What do you come up first when creating your character- the back story, the plot, the characteristics?

I suppose characteristics are easiest. What do they look like? It’s important to know, because otherwise there’s just this nondescript blob walking through my head having adventures. Doesn’t work so well. Of course at the same time I have a vague idea of what these characters are trying to accomplish, or at least what their main obstacle is. Hardly ever have a clue how they’ll solve it though. Surprises are fun.

5) How does your character influence your narrative style?
Immensely! Change your narrator and you’ve got a completely different book. Everyone has a slightly different way of looking at the world. Even if you’re writing a third-person omniscient, the book changes depending which character you slant toward. Can you imagine Jane Eyre told by Rochester? Or Black Beauty told without Beauty’s voice? Weirdness. Pure weirdness. And I feel like I would have had to smack that Rochester book around a little. Stop being so broody and defensive!!

You can find Kendare Blake


Now here is what you need for the contest:

Who is about to take on Anna next?  Each day during the first week, a new ghost fighter will be introduced and invited, by Anna herself, to come to Thunder Bay and try to defeat Anna.  Follow the tour for the next three weeks to find out who the other ghost hunters are, which of them accept Anna's challenge and who among the five is the one who will enter Anna's house on the last day of the tour!

On the last day of the tour, a link will be provided where you can enter the ghost hunters name for 15 entries into the contest to win a Anna Dressed In Blood skinned and loaded Kindle 3!  Open US/Canada.

For an extra points in the meantime, you can gain +1 point a day by tweeting the following:
Who will make it to Thunder Bay?  Join the contest to best Anna and win an Anna Dressed In Blood Kindle!  Follow #ADIBtour @KendareBlake

You can click on the picture to make it bigger!

What will you win??? I'll show you!!!

A Kindle 3 with the Anna Dressed in Blood Skin on it and the book pre loaded!!

Here is the tour schedule for you to follow:
Monday, September 12th - Rachel, Parajunkee

Tuesday, September 13th - Stacey, A Reader's Record

Wednesday, September 14th - Alyssa, Teens Read and Write

Thursday, September 15th - Heather, Buried In Books

Friday, September 16th - Jenny, Supernatural Snark

Monday, September 19th - Melissa, I Swim For Oceans

Tuesday, September 20th - Tawni, The Book Worms

Wednesday, September 21st - Alice, Alice Marvels

Thursday, September 22nd - Julie, That's Swell

Friday, September 23rd - Angela, The Reading Angel

Monday, September 26th - Julia, Rex Robot Reviews

Tuesday, September 27th - Ashley, Smash Attack Reads!

Wednesday, September 28th - Britta, I Like These Books

Thursday, September 29th - We Fancy Books

Friday, September 30th (Anna's 1 month birthday!) - Kristi, The Story Siren

Tuesday, October 4th: Announcement of the big prize winner on Kendare's Site!

Questions, concerns, need more info? Visit the Anna Dressed in Blood Kismet Tour Home Page


  1. "smack that Rochester book around a little" lol too funny!


  2. I definitely agree that as the story builds, the characters do, too. Sometimes, in unexpected ways to the writer. Great interview, and great answers! :)

  3. Krysykat- I thought that was funny too!

    Anna- I learned some things from this interview. I chose this topic b/c I'm having trouble with my own characters. This helped.

  4. I'm reading this book right now and I love it. I think the slow progression of Cas and the morbidity is what I love most of all. :D

    In the Closet With a Bibliophile

  5. Jen- I love this book! It was spooky and sad and gross and terrible and wait until you find out about her death! And Cas is so adorable! I'm gonna gush about him in my review!


  6. I am really enjoying this tour so far and I remember what I really find striking about this book is Anna. She is not a typical heroine, if even that but she has a backbone that makes me want to read about her. I'm both interested in her life before she became a ghost and after! Speaking of character I found this interview really great, it was focused and not too broad so I got a lot of depth about character building. Thank you.

    Cambonified (at) yahoo (dot) com

  7. Na- Thanks for commenting! I loved Anna, too! I loved her before the book ever came out. She was fascinating to me! A vengeful, murderous ghost! But then you get to the story behind the story even more fascinating! And I chose to ask about character building and those specific questions because I have trouble in that area when I write. I think Kendare's answers were very helpful! I know they were what I needed. I've been dreaming about my characters every night!


  8. Very good interview. I loved hearing how the story and characters come to Blake. =)

  9. Lots of great tips for writing. I like when you get to know that character over time, not all at once with a "this is who/why I am".

  10. "It’s like seeing someone on the street, thinking they look interesting, and following them around for awhile. Except not that because that’s stalking."

    Hilarious:) I love that she has a fun sense of humor and that really came across with Cas. I just adored this book so much, and this interview was a blast to read. Thanks Heather and Kendare!

  11. Thanks Bailey, Book Sake and Jenny- Uh, yes Jenny stalking would be what it's like only legal and on paper.

    I totally loved this book! Please see my Friday Love where I make a fool of myself!


  12. That was a fantastic post! How interesting and humorous !

    I just started reading this, I'm loving it so far!

    Thanks so much for posting this! It was a blast!


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